I am reluctant to say it, but I believe the best player in the NBA is Kobe Bryant. Like Larry Bird, Rick Barry, and other great players I tended to root against while watching them on television, Kobe is the best at what he does. What separates him from LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and the other great players in the game today? Bryant has the killer instinct. He not only wants to win, he wants to destroy his opponents. I'm not saying James, Wade, Anthony, Kidd or Duncan don't want to win--they just don't seem to take losing as personally. They seemingly don't view losing as the end of the world. Don't misunderstand me, I think this is a sign of a well-adjusted person and player; however, a player that will kill you to win a game will likely come out on top against an equally talented player who realizes the game he is playing is indeed just a game.
I would love to pick LeBron James, a tremendous athlete I very much enjoy watching, but I believe Kobe is the best--today, that is.